Christmas parties and riding

I was supposed fly to Tasmania today. I am meant to be at a friend’s place tonight catching up and preparing to ride the Tasmanian Trail. I was going to spend the next three weeks sleeping in a tent. But, with my MTB frame broken and a trip to Kenya booked for February, I decided to spend Christmas at home. And I think it was the right choice.

My partner worked today so I cycled over to my in-laws for the annual Christmas breakfast. The ride was lovely – with everyone at home opening presents, there were almost no cars or bikes on the road. By the time I rode home late in the afternoon, things were a little busier but still relatively quiet.

But it was the time spent with family that proved to be the important part of my day. I learned a lot today. I got some food for thought (and way too much food for my tummy but I think that’s the way it is on Christmas Day). I have some things to think about in relation to my priorities in 2014.

Lesson 1: My partner’s 102yo great aunt has been coming to Christmas for three years. Before that, she had nothing to do with the family. Her only social interaction for the past 80-90 years has been people from her church. She’s a severe and extremely conservative religious woman around whom I am required to pretend I am not transgendered, and no one is allowed to swear, smoke or drink alcohol. She’s given her life to her church, but where are the people from her church now that she’s old? I see her and realise that it’s important to make time for the people who will still be in your life long after you stop doing the activities that create social experience; to recognise the difference between true relationships and activity-based interactions. That’s not to say you can’t form deep friendships through activity-based interactions – buy most of those relationships end when the activity ends (how many people in your sports team or club do you invite over to dinner with your family?).

Lesson 2: My sister-in-law lost her partner of 15 years just two days ago. I was a sudden and unexpected passing (the cause of death is still unknown). He went out to meet mates and never came home. It shows that life is short and you need to prioritise time with the people you love most.

Lesson 3: I am lucky to have both a birth and in-law family who I love.

In this final week of 2013, I need to evaluate my priorities. I need to take time to assess how I spend my time and money to get the most out of it. I like being a happy chilled person. I like spending time with family and need to make more time to see my in-laws who I generally only see 2-3 times a year but want to see more. I also need to use my holidays and money to make memories with my partner.

I have enjoyed a lot of “me time” in the past 12 months. I needed it as part of my development as a healthy individual. But now it’s time to take the next step: finding balance.

Total: 84.9km road cycle

17 comments on “Christmas parties and riding

  1. Sounds like it was one of the most important rides you have done all year! I have to agree so much with all the lessons it highlighted. Frequently the personal desires to go bush and bay can challenge with family priorities/needs. Each individual in our family has unique feelings/needs that at times wouldn’t seem as important to me, but it’s not my place to rate and prioritise other people’s genuine needs rather to validate and support them. Sometimes you just need to show for no reason that they are the top priority.
    Exercise friends are often just that.
    Life is about balance. It’s like the wheel on your bike, it rotates around and we need each section. If you have one thin bald section on your tyre it will still work great in the easy going but in difficulty times it is the section that will puncture or skid and derail your whole ride/life.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Andrew.

  2. Balance is so important! Great priorities for the new year!

  3. Oh and that doll is super creepy!

  4. One of my favorite posts, well said. One of my goals is to be true to myself. I hate it when people stifle that in us — like that old woman. 😦

    • Thank you πŸ™‚ I try to be true to myself. I am easily influenced so sometimes I find myself going off in directions I don’t really want to go. It usually happens because I don’t like upsetting people (despite what some people think). I usually don’t let people stifle me though. The old lady is the only exception but I only behave out of respect for my mother-in-law – not for her aunt

  5. My sister and I had a scary doll growing up. She was waist high and had eyes that opened and closed. We kept her in the closet because she was so scary looking, then we were too scared to open the closet door to get our board games! There was an old episode of the Twilight Zone about a doll that came to life that did us in, and we became convinced the doll was possessed. We hated that poor doll. We still talk about it to this day.

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